UGH Magazine: Battle Cry for Millennial Feminists

Rachel Mead

Like many of today’s best ideas, UGH Magazine began with a Google Doc.

If you use the internet regularly and your friends are feminist millennials, you might know about RookieMag, Tavi Genison’s online teen magazine. If you’re part of the twenty-something crowd, you might be reading articles from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s site, Lenny Letter, aimed at women in the working world. However, if you don’t attend Oberlin or don’t know Justine Goode, OC ’16, and Hazel Crampton-Hays, OC ’16, you may not be familiar with UGH, a feminist publication of their creation.

One of the struggles of UGH has been figuring out how to find a target audience while remaining inclusive. “Our mission statement is still constantly changing,” says Goode, co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the magazine. “The challenge has been figuring out how to use language that doesn’t exclude anyone.”

The current UGH mission statement doesn’t use gendered language to describe the intended readership of the publication. Instead, it simply says it’s for feminists. Goode says that it is a feminist magazine by default based on its contributors, focus and audience. The other word used in the magazine to describe this intended audience is ‘millennial,’ which is no accident.

Both Goode and Crampton-Hays, co-founder and co-editor-in-chief, are well versed in the nuances of language. Goode graduated with an English degree this May, with a minor in Art History and experience with The Grape. Crampton-Hays, a Religion and Politics double major, was deeply involved in Students United for Reproductive Freedom. “‘Feminist’ and ‘millennial’ are used as derogatory words,” Goode explained. In spite of this — or because of it — it seems they share a distinct sense of identity, rendering the magazine’s claim to both a powerful statement.

UGH is meant to be an expression of enthusiasm and frustration for its contributors and readers — two feelings that encapsulate Goode and Crampton-Hays’ view of being a millennial feminist. This comes across in the magazine’s three available issues. You can feel the excitement of being a woman in this century, or an artist, or a chess champion with “the weight of the world”— to quote a 16-year-old contributor from Germany — on your shoulders.

Each issue has a theme. The first was “Beginners” the second “Home” and the third “Passion.” All three of these themes are rife with examples of joy and despair, the duality of existing in this century as anything other than a man.

In many ways, UGH is a typical magazine. It publishes think pieces on periods, landscape photography and poetry about being at home with oneself. What is beautiful and unique about UGH is that it is tailored for our community. Written by and aimed at College feminists, UGH Magazine is intentionally an Oberlin feminist production. Goode is proud of that. “It was important to us to bring to light accomplishments of our friends and other women doing things around us. When you’re a woman, there’s a lot of work you do and things you carry that go unnoticed. I think it’s important for us to take pride in that extra work.”

She and Crampton-Hays began working on the publication while abroad during their junior year. Now that they’ve graduated, it will be even more difficult to keep UGH consistently producing new issues. “It will probably only be semiannual from now on,” says Goode. But she’s confident that it will continue to exist, in spite of the challenges. UGH is “a soapbox, an accessible platform to share art, writing and accomplishments for all feminists,” she said, and she wouldn’t want it any other way.